Asda has inked a deal to open branches of Barclays in its shops as the retailer takes a step to answer the conundrum over excess space in its large stores.

Four pilot bank branches will open in Asda stores from February next year and will be open seven days a week.

Asda said that the move will give shoppers the flexibility of longer opening hours and more convenient parking for customers to visit their bank. 

The new branches in Asda will be available to all new and existing Barclays and customers and will be staffed by Barclays employees.

Outside core banking hours, the branches will host new technology to allow customers to pay in cash and cheques, pay bills, withdraw and transfer money.

Asda, and rival Tesco, have been working to fill excess space in their larger stores after non-food sales have migrated online.

Asda executive director for property and multichannel Karen Hubbard said: “This is the next step in the evolution of how we continue to make our stores relevant to our customers’ everyday needs, giving them access to banking services to use at their convenience – when they want, and how they want it.

“Access to banking services is an underrated but important asset to any community but in many areas, these services just aren’t available to families. In partnership with Barclays, we’ll trial banking services in our stores for the communities which need it the most.”

The first branch will be opened in Asda Birchwood in Cheshire in February. 

Store trading hours will be from 8am to 10pm, six days a week and 10.30am to 4.30 pm on Sundays. 

A further three branches will open in Asda stores in Pudsey in West Yorkshire, North Watford in Hertfordshire and Broadstairs in Kent, with the aim to extend the pilot to open eight in total early next year.